Take A Chance Tuesday

unnamed

When I was considering accepting my current position as field editor of an agricultural newspaper, I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do. I’m from a rural area in northern Indiana and am familiar with agriculture, but I have never been a farm kid.

Although corn and beans fields surrounded the house I grew up in, my family didn’t farm. I even considered joining 4-H when I was in school but when it came down to only having the time to do athletics or 4-H, I chose athletics. I also considered joining FFA but at the time the organization mostly consisted of farm kids and I didn’t feel like I would fit in.

unnamed

I wondered if I would be able to keep up writing about something that I wasn’t overly familiar with. I thought there is no way I’m going to be able to talk with farmers, political leaders as well as business professionals and educators who live and breathe agriculture.

After a few days trying to decide what to do, I decided I would take a leap of faith and accept the position. I realized that, yes, I was scared about asking a stupid question about the industry or writing in a way that showed I was learning, but more than that, I was scared of moving for a job and finding out I didn’t like it. And I didn’t want that to stop me.

unnamed

Fast forward five months and I can tell you everything has worked out. I am incredibly happy in my position and have been pleasantly surprised at how kind everyone in the industry is. I can ask questions and those farmers and political leaders I was nervous to talk to and they will not only answer them but they’ll go above and beyond to give me the background of the subject.

unnamed

Along with, the overwhelming kindness I have received from coworkers, interviewees and everyone in between, I am happy that I took a chance.

By taking the position I have been given opportunities that I never would have had if I said no. I’ve been able to travel around the state and meet different kinds of people including a Colts football player, a Nascar driver and a Nascar team owner. I’ve experienced a historic barn tour as well as a boat tour of the Ohio River. I’ve also attended a wine festival and a restaurant opening where I got to sample different food dishes and then write about them. These are just a few of the experiences I never would have had without taking this opportunity.

unnamed

I never would have been paid to do these things without saying yes to the position and I am beyond thankful I did. I hope that others considering taking a chance on something will do so!

Have you had a similar situation? If so, tell me about it!

Make your work week better

Image

Yes we all love the weekend; a time to do anything we want, even if what we want is to not do anything. But weeks can drag on and become dull if you’re constantly looking at Friday as the light at the end of the tunnel.

So take a breath, relax and try to view the week in a positive light (not as a soul-sucking time gap before the weekend.)

1.) Make plans
Making plans during the week can help make your work week more exciting. Grab dinner with a friend or visit a community event after work.

2.) Exercise
Although it’s hard to want to go to the gym after working all day, it really is a good stress reliever. It’s easy to dread and talk yourself out of it, but it will make you feel better after.

3.) Avoid daily naps

I love naps and sometimes they are necessary after a long day or a night of little sleep.  But it’s easy to get in a routine during the week of waking up, working, and napping before going back to sleep . Try not to let the days blur in to one another.

4.) Go outside

No really, go outside right now. We sleep inside, work inside (most of us) and usually it’s dark when we get home. Getting outside for a little bit can be an easy way to unwind. Take a walk, read a book or do something less cliche-sounding.

5.) Call family, friends

Give family members and friends a ring when you aren’t able to visit them on a weekday. It makes the ordinary day better; so vent, catch up and talk to others. Who else will listen to you complain about an annoying coworker?  You’ll catch yourself smiling through the phone.

Image

What they don’t tell you in school

I’ve written a lot about college and adjusting to post-grad life and I’ve come to a conclusion. High School, college attempts to prepare you for the next step. You’re always preparing for the next grade level, test and job.

I learned a lot in school from teachers, mentors and professors, but they all left out one small detail.

 You will fail.

That’s right, I said it. You will fail. Yes, you, looking fabulous; I’m talking to you.

You’ll fail at something. You’ll fail at many somethings. But you’ll get through it.

Some of the best advice I ever received from my mother was “sometimes you just have to say f*ck it.” My mother, who is a lovely, eloquent woman, would cringe if she saw I shared those words, but it’s true.

Sometimes you just have to say f*ck it.

Twenty somethings spend a lot of time over-analyzing. We finish school, apply for jobs, get said job and hope to do well. We hate the thought of failing. It’s not something we’re used to. We keep a running to-do list in our heads at night. We come in early and stay late. We exchange a glass of wine, shot of tequila for coffee and diet soda.

We refuse to accept defeat. But you know what? We will fail. The sooner we accept that, the sooner we will be able to enjoy ourselves.

Another gem of advice my mother gave me: you aren’t married to your job, company. There are circumstances, such as the economy, when our company could just send us all packing.

Yes, we should do a damn good job at our job. Yes, we should own up to mistakes. Yes, we really should strive to succeed, but at the end of the day we aren’t married to our work and that is liberating.

I’m not saying you should quit your job, lose your inhibitions, move to a clothing-optional island and take up sun bathing, but I’m saying you will fail and that’s okay. When that happens own up to it, correct it and make it right.

All that anxiety creeping up on you at night as you think about work the next day? Let it go. The reel you keep replaying in your head about something that happened two weeks ago? Let it go, you won’t change it.

Like my mother says, sometimes you just have to say f*ck it.

5 things to help you get over post-grad FOMO

Fear of missing out hits post grads at least once. Be honest, it probably happens a lot more.

For the most part I’ve gotten over the post grad FOMO. I was living alone in a new state this summer and couldn’t really dwell on the fact it was no longer socially acceptable to run nearly naked  or jump in fountains like it is for college homecoming.

Now I’m back working at a job in the same state as my previous college stomping grounds. I have friends who still live in town and can crash on their couch when I want to visit.

However, I will admit I had some hardcore FOMO texting going on last night. I was stuck in my house for the snowpocalypse for ’13 while Indiana University basketball was having senior night. I watched the game as they fell to Ohio State. I then changed to the Big Ten Network to watch the senior night speeches as Hulls and Watford both got emotional. By emotional I mean they sobbed and I, of course, shed a few tears (several) as well.

After that the rapper Wale was in town for the game and a concert at one of the local bars. Random Tuesday night concert? That’s the sort of thing I miss.

I texted people who were in town and vicariously experienced the game, concert and good times.

Then I woke up sans hangover, well-rested and worked out, ate breakfast, showered and had a cup of coffee before 8 a.m.

As much as I sometimes miss the fun, social part of college there are also parts I don’t miss. Here are five things to help you get over post grad FOMO.

1.) You don’t have to cram, stay up late and insert coffee intravenously

I was talking to my best friends, who is a senior, and she told me how busy she is with classes this week. She has two papers, one of them a 100+ page script and two exams because next week is spring break.

2.) You (hopefully) have a better job than you did in college

In college I worked at a tanning salon and wrote for the school of journalism website/alumni magazine. I made minimum wage at the tanning salon and had to put up with a new side of public I had never seen before.  They did unspeakable things in tanning beds and on top of that I was juggling five classes and a story deadline.

3.) There will always be events to bring you back

Homecoming, athletic games and events will always allow you to be welcomed back with open arms and there will be weekends you’ll be able to pretend you’re back in college again.

4.) Healthier choices

Campuses are surrounded by fast food, Starbucks and bars. It’s easy to be up at midnight and think the fries at McDonalds  or XL coke from the Circle K are a good idea. Also there is something about studying late that involves snacks or caffeine. Being in a different environment allows more time to make healthier choices like purchasing groceries and actually, maybe, sort of allow you to use the square box also known as an oven.

5.) You are a badass twenty something with a badass degree

Recent post grads are twenty somethings, like myself, have a reputation. Washington Post said it was hard to be a twenty something. Some news articles call us selfish, others call us naive. Some say we don’t know what we’re doing and you know what? They’re right. No one knows what they’re doing most of the time but with twenty something confidence and determination you can succeed and be awesome. Yeah, I said it. You graduated. You survived school. Next time you get FOMO think about the accomplishment of graduating college. The accomplishment that will carry you through future jobs. You rock.

xoxo,

recent college grad

Merger would affect current, future journalism students

24298_137919923043731_1943049857_n[1]

I’ve talked before about the fact I attended Indiana University and studied journalism. The journalism school at IU, located in Ernie Pyle Hall, is facing a merger that would result in the school losing its independence and merging with Indiana University’s College of Arts and Sciences (COAS).

Hearing news of this made my blood boil.

I spent four years, countless hours there. I attended 8 a.m. classes and stayed on campus all day because I also had a 5:45 p.m. class. I took naps on the furniture, read books with the glass doors open overlooking the courtyard, used the computer lab and checked out video, camera equipment. I took advantage of the resources offered.

Provost Lauren Robel announced the proposed merger of the school and several other programs at her “State of the Campus.” This has caused a Facebook page to be formed to save the journalism school and people are encouraged to sign a petition and contact university officials. Robel silenced objectivity by refusing journalists inside a meeting on Feb. 21. The meeting was held in Ernie Pyle Hall, where the Indiana Daily Student is located.

I plan to take action and hope others do too.

I attended mandatory freshmen courses in the dreaded lecture hall and made friends I kept throughout my college career. More than that, I learned. I learned more than I knew at the time and probably more than I realize now. Visual Communications with Claude Cookman, creating a magazine with Nancy Comiskey, war and the media with Steve Raymer, sports reporting with Terry Hutchins, Indianapolis star sports reporter, and magazine reporting with Zak Szymanski were just a few of my classes taught by brilliant professors.

I also worked for a year in the school as a writer for the website and alumni magazine. My boss, editor, Gena Asher was brilliant. I was able to interview professors I never had and learn new things about the ones I already knew.

I met people, talked with people, and learned from others.  I worked on PowerPoint presentations with group members until my contacts were dry and eyes were red. I studied, quizzed other students about subjects we were about to be tested on.

I grew. Indiana University has one of the best journalism schools in the country and to take its independence away is ludicrous. It isn’t just a place where people are let loose without guidance. They are sculpted into journalists. They are allowed opportunities to network and get the careers they desire.

I am outraged journalism students could miss out on the experience I had. Merging the programs and allowing the possibility of someone being lost in translation is a horrible thing to rob future, current students.

The merger would affect future writers, reporters, radio broadcasters, television broadcasters and publicists who will be delivering news all over the world.

I now work at a daily newspaper in northern Indiana and the Indiana University school of journalism and all those in it helped me prepare for it.

Journalism isn’t dead yet, but taking away the school’s independence is similar to shooting the first bullet.

ex-poet, ex-pianist turned reporter

I’ve been slacking. My last blog update was a month ago.

What’s been going on since then?

I had a birthday and turned 23 (exciting). I also accompanied my cousin Rachel to a wedding in Ohio and crashed the event, Vince Vaughn style (way more exciting).

I fell in love…with New York City and Jon Hamm. I love everything about NYC and I spotted Jon Hamm as he came out of a Broadway play. And yes, Don Draper is just as handsome (if not more) in person.

Well, with the fact that my internship ends on Friday, I have been relentlessly applying to job openings.

On top of that, I have been covering a range of stories at work including car accidents, a bomb threat, a Cub Scout day camp and I went on a 2.5 mile hike for story.

My cousin, Andrea came to visit me and we explored mountain towns, drove around listening to music and witnessed the senior citizen nightlife of Hazleton when DJ QB comes to the Timbers Lounge. (Note, those senior citizens out-danced and out-drank everyone there).

Oh yeah, and I accepted a full-time reporting position. I am happy to say that I am looking forward to the challenging atmosphere that the newspaper business brings. Even though I am a young twenty-something, it doesn’t escape me how lucky I am to have a print job in a profession that is becoming more and more digital.

Well folks, that’s where I have been the past month. Here’s to finishing an internship and beginning a career.

People make living, really living, possible

Every so often I have a moment of panic. A moment where I question what I’m doing in life. At the risk of being cheesy and borrowing John Mayer’s lyrics from the song Why Georgia, I wonder if “I’m living it right.”

No one will come out and say it point blank, but most of what you learn in high school and college is pointless. I spent hours taking classes that were hard to pass- statistics, astronomy, poly sci- and had nothing to do with my major and for what? To forget it the week the class ended? Yes of course the things that I learned about my major were very important, and in my job now what I learned in journalism class keeps me from getting yelled at by my editor. 🙂

But one of the most important things I’ve learned with my internship is the REAL importance of college. There were times that I would be worried over a grade and stressed out because I was working two jobs on top of 18 credit hours. I thought I didn’t have time to have fun, but trust me I did.

The importance of my IU experience was watching basketball at Brothers Bar, skipping class (not THAT often) to have a long island at Roys, listening to Main Squeeze at the Bluebird on 15 cent beer night, spending time with my roommates watching Harry Potter movies, using weird accents and drinking ungodly amounts of Polar Pops (the gas attendants knew us), meeting people in class, meeting people at work, going out on a Tuesday or weeknight, and waking up at 8 a.m. on a Saturday to tailgate, even with a horrible football program. The importance of my college experience was meeting the people who can be contacts for my future careers and meeting people who I call my best friends.

Before I left for my internship my editor and I met for coffee. My editor, Gena, is a wonderful woman that is a genius with all things journalism. She told me a story of when she first began working at a newspaper and how she got yelled at for the first time and it stayed with her for 25 years. Every time I’m having a bad day at work I think of her and her story and all of the wonderful advice that she has given me over the past year.

I also turn to my mother. The other day I got an expensive parking ticket and had a long day of reporting and I texted my mom and told her to tell me that everything was okay. She responded and told me that everything was okay, then she told me “Amie, sometimes you just have to say f*** it. In the grand scheme of things, a parking ticket is no big deal.”

Then I turn to my father. He always makes me feel better. He’ll give me advice and then tell me about a similar experience that he went through that will make me feel better. My brother pulls me out of a rut by making me laugh, even when I don’t want to laugh. He makes me laugh when I’m mad, sad, or any other emotion possible.

Growing up is hard. Living in a strange place in a job that you spent four years of class preparing for is hard.  The point of my twenty-something ramblings is that It’s the people that I’ve grown up with and grown to know that help carry me through all of the uncertainty.

When that panic moment hits and I don’t think I’m doing anything right, I turn to my best girl friends from college, my parents, brother, cousins and editor. I turn to the people that remind me why I’m doing what I’m doing. I turn to the people who let me know that working hard will get me there. I turn to the people who help me live right.